A reader sent me a link to a Randall Parker Future Pundit item from 2006 that was prescient:
Another reader noted Peter King's obituary in Sports Illustrated for the brilliant football innovator Bill Walsh, who, more than anybody else, invented the modern pass-crazy NFL offensive style. King quotes Walsh from 1991, which might have some relevance to Vick:
"As a coach, I know I have to start with smart players. It might not have been so important in past years, but today we're asking players to do so much and to know so many schemes. Without basic intelligence, they simply can't play. And if they're not just plain smart, they're not going to be able to do the things a sophisticated coach is going to ask. With the speed on the field today, their technique and knowledge of what they have to do has to be keen or they'll get buried. A player like Bill Ring of the 49ers, who wasn't physically gifted, was a great contributor, despite his lack of speed and size and quickness, because he was a tremendous student of the game.
"As you'll see in this book, intelligent players have an infinitely better chance to succeed. On offense, they have to cope more and more with things like the no-huddle and quick snaps. In a few years, who knows? Maybe there won't be huddles. On defense, they have to cope with different schemes and all the substitution. When I look for players now, even at Stanford, I can rule out a lot of people fast. They have to have above-average intelligence combined with the ability to function under stress ...